Volunteers wanted to help scheme which works with child sex offenders

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A new programme which works with ‘high-risk’ child sex offenders to prevent them from re-offending is coming to Lincolnshire.

Latest figures show there are nearly 700 registered sex offenders living in communities around the county.

Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability (YHCOSA) is a community response service working with ‘high-risk’ child sex offenders with the aim of reducing the number of potential new victims.

Following a National Lottery grant, the scheme is expanding to Lincolnshire and looking for volunteers.

YHCOSA director Tammy Banks said: “Our vision is ‘no more victims’.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Lincolnshire. Research shows that where circles do not exist, there is greater risk of further abuse to children and young people than in areas where there are circles.”

She added: “There is typically a higher percentage of sex offenders in seaside resorts than other towns.”

The organisation, which works with police and probation, says social isolation and emotional loneliness are key factors in increasing the risk of re-offending. Circles is an approach which consists of volunteers who sit in a weekly circle with an offender.

The offenders, or ‘core members’ as they are known in YHCOSA, are held to account for what they have done and given a safe place to talk about what they are feeling and thinking. The circles provide a place of support to be honest about triggers that could lead to reoffending.

“We know there are nearly 700 people who have convictions for sexual offences living in Lincolnshire and circles provides a positive way to help the community stay safe,” said Tammy. “This cannot be achieved without volunteers.”

Volunteers receive comprehensive training and on-going support.

To volunteer, email info@yhcosa.org.uk or call 01904 630911.